Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Waving the White Flag of Surrender

(The Gospel of Not Good Enough, Part 1)

A frequent failure to get things right can leave me feeling burdened and beat up. But I don't like to admit it.

This week at church we were served communion. While Catholics and some others observe the rite quite often, many evangelicals make room for this powerful transaction only once a month or once a quarter. So sometimes it catches me by surprise. 

Communion Sunday can seem like a pop quiz: Uh oh, he's here! (yeah, Jesus...) Oh, I know he's always there. But there's something a bit solemn about examining one's heart before taking the elements: Am I really right with God and man?

Yet if it is a test of anything, at least it is a test of willingness, not progress; openness, not achievement. Are we ready to welcome God when we see him? Can we confess to the one who designed us, “OK, I'm here too. I come as I am.”

After all, it's a pretty amazing invitation. Jesus says,
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
So, maybe it's better to push aside those thoughts that this is a test. And to receive it as a gift, instead.

* * *

The relatively small, vulnerable communities of Christians in Central Asia tend to refer to the act of turning to Jesus not as “believing” but as “repenting.” “When did you repent? Has she repented yet?”'

The language offends human dignity, but it works for me. Others speak of “following” Christ or “trusting” Christ. Each of these terms reveals that (as the saying goes) it’s not what you know, but who you know.

For me, the gospel is about getting to the end of the battle and discovering what happens when we surrender. The good news is you're not good enough.

Series: The Gospel of Not Good Enough

The prequel: Asking for Direction(s)
Part 1: Waving the White Flag of Surrender
Part 2: Best Week of Your Life
Part 3: Pretty, Popular, Good

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